Living with semesters

Posted in Teaching on February 7th, 2017 by steve

“Most universities in the English-speaking world (though as we shall note, not all) organise their academic sessions into semesters. A ‘semester’, just in case this needs to be explained, is according to the Oxford English Dictionary ‘a period or term of six months’ …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 7 February]

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Exam scheduling: semester or end of year?

Posted in Teaching on October 18th, 2013 by steve

“It is my experience in academic discourse that when a change is proposed, those advocating the change rely on ‘gut instinct’ and ‘common sense’ while those opposing it seek evidence from the literature …” (more)

[Is this going to be on the exam?, 18 October]

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A question of dates

Posted in Teaching on January 5th, 2009 by steve

“I believe I am right in saying that, from next September onwards, all Irish universities will have academic years divided into semesters, with Trinity College Dublin the last institution to adopt this format. I might just add in passing that, at least if you’re a pedant like me, you can only have two ’semesters’ per year, the term having a Latin origin and meaning six months – although of course since nobody’s semester covers six months of teaching, maybe we are all using the wrong term. However, the idea of a ‘third semester’ that is sometimes mooted, it seems to me, is an absurd concept linguistically; and whether it has much pedagogical value is also highly debatable …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 4 January]

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Modular universities

Posted in Teaching on December 9th, 2008 by steve

“When I was a student – and indeed, when I was first a university lecturer – universities in these islands (and, I believe, in much of the English-speaking world) all had a similar academic year: it was structured into three ‘terms’, each with typically between eight and ten weeks. The basic teaching unit was a year-long course, which would be examined at the end of the academic year, usually in a written examination which alone would account for the marks on which student progression would be decided. Through the 1980s it became more common to allow some non-examination assessment, but on the whole this remained the standard approach. However, there was always some awareness that in other countries this was not the norm …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 9 December]

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